Lamaze International and Science & Sensibility join with other partners around the world to celebrate International Day of the Midwife. This global celebration is observed every year on May 5th and was officially recognized by the International Confederation of Midwives in 1992. (Read Judith Lothian’s report from the 2014 ICM Congress here.) This year’s theme is “The World Needs Midwives Today More Than Ever.”
Key midwifery concepts and model of care
Key midwifery concepts as defined by the International Confederation of Midwives describe the unique role that midwives have in providing care to women and families:
- partnership with women to promote self-care and the health of mothers, infants, and families;
- respect for human dignity and for women as persons with full human rights;
- advocacy for women so that their voices are heard and their health care choices are respected;
- cultural sensitivity, including working with women and health care providers to overcome those cultural practices that harm women and babies;
- a focus on health promotion and disease prevention that views pregnancy as a normal life event;
- advocacy for normal physiologic labour and birth to enhance best outcomes for mothers and infants. (Fullerton, Thompson & Severino, 2011).
ACOG advocates universal standards
On April 20, 2015, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) endorsed the International Confederation of Midwives education and training standards and suggested that this criteria be adopted as the minimum requirements for midwifery licensure in the United States. ACOG “advocates for implementation of the ICM standards in every state to assure all women access to safe, qualified, highly skilled providers.” In the same document, ACOG calls for a single midwife credential. Currently, in the USA there are certified nurse midwives (CNM), Certified Midwives (CM) and Certified Professional Midwives (CPM) and they all have different core competencies and educational requirements. You can read the entire ACOG statement here. This document is meant to accompany their Levels of Maternal Care statement that I wrote about in a previous blog post. Both of these recent statements signify a recognition that families have choices about the type of health care provider they receive their maternity care from and that more and more families every year are choosing midwifery.
Five interesting facts about midwifery
- There are approximately 26,000 midwives in the USA. This number includes Certified Nurse Midwives, Certified Midwives and Certified Professional Midwives.
- Midwives practice and catch babies in hospitals, birth centers and in families’ homes.
- Midwives who are educated and regulated to international standards can provide 87% of the essential care needed for women and newborns. (UNFPA, 2014)
- 11.3% of all babies born in the USA in 2013 were caught by midwives (Martin, Hamilton, Osterman, et al. 2015)
- Approximately 0.6% of all midwives in the USA are male. (Pinkerton, Schorn, 2008)
How are you celebrating International Day of the Midwife in your community and in your classes? Have you reached out to the midwives in your community and let them know that they are appreciated? Take a moment to do so and join Lamaze International in thanking midwives for helping families have safe and healthy births.
Fullerton, J. T., Thompson, J. B., & Severino, R. (2011). The International Confederation of Midwives essential competencies for basic midwifery practice. An update study: 2009–2010. Midwifery, 27(4), 399-408.
Martin JA, Hamilton BE, Osterman MJK, et al. Births: Final data for 2013. National vital statistics reports; vol 64 no 1. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2015.
Pilkenton, D., & Schorn, M. N. (2008). Midwifery: a career for men in nursing.Men in Nursing Journal, 3(1), 32.
UNFPA. The State of the World’s Midwifery 2014. A Universal Pathway. A Woman’s Right to Health. United Nations Population Fund, New York; 2014